I received two e-mails this week which highlighted the challenges we are up against in this new age of media. Both people were not pleased with how quickly they received information about crimes reported in our city.

In one case, a subscriber felt she should have been notified about an attempted distraction theft at the mall immediately through the Nixle system.  The second customer was unhappy that he read about a robbery at a local pizza business in the newspaper days after the event. 

In both of the cases mentioned above, we quickly generated news releases within 24 hours of the events, so the natural reaction was to get defensive.  We have really worked hard at being more open and informative.  We have opened up many channels of communication to include crime alerts, offender notifications, interactive mapping, a newsletter, video programming, Nixle, Facebook, Twitter, and blogging.  What more can we do?  

Upon reflection, it’s clear that both cases offered lessons to learn and opportunities for improvement.  To date, we have limited the use of Nixle to primarily real-time and ongoing events (traffic snarls, missing persons, suspect searches, etc.).  We will now expand our use of Nixle to include past events which have obvious public safety implications.  We may do the same with other e-mail databases. 

Given limited resources and an overabundance of information out there, the traditional media will be limited on what they cover and how quickly they do it. These cases highlight the need for us to more effectively drive people to our content.  We will now be posting releases to our site, as opposed to simply sending the information via e-mails to the local media outlets.  We are also working on some other ideas for improving the speed and the quality of content, giving people more reasons to want to visit our site.  

I asked for feedback and I got it.  Keep it coming.